Updated: Aug 2, 2021
First of all, for those who clicked on this hoping that this a Guide that explains how to get a Job in a new country, then I’m sorry, you’re looking at the wrong place. Not because I’m not talking about it, but also because if someone writes a Guide about it, they’re lying.
Steps to get a job in a new country or anywhere cannot be standardized in any form or way. It is one of the most random and arbitrary process that often leads to loss in confidence and gain in weight (if you’re like me). Yes, there can be best practices. But just following the best practices will not guarantee any results. You know why?
Hint: You’re not the only one doing it.
So, what is this blog about?
It’s possible that this is a rant disguised as an informative piece of writing. It can also be about what to expect when you undertake this journey of job hunt in a foreign land. But ultimately it is my way of acknowledging the strength and bravery of all those who’ve taken this giant leap of faith to move to a different country and start all over again. It’s not often said out loud, but I just want to say that all of you are brave. Always remember that.
Settling In & Preparations
Like I said, Job hunt in a foreign land is hard. There’s a possibility that initially when you move, you may not have the necessary permissions or visas that allows you to work. This means that you’re in for a long wait. You spend the initial few months acclimatizing yourself with the new country, learning how things are done and hopefully creating a social circle.
Once that is out of the way, the boredom sets in. You start doubting your decision to move but you’re undying spirit kicks in and you look at ways to keep yourself occupied.
If you’re lucky, within a few months or maybe a year you get the official permission to work in the new country. You’re overjoyed, obviously. You start creating a list of dream companies you would like to apply and simultaneously work on creating that perfect Resume and Cover letter.
Ah, don’t forget that LinkedIn Profile. It is equally important.
Armed with all the necessary things needed to apply for a job, you set out to finish this herculean task. You start with LinkedIn and other Job-hunting websites.
Within days, LinkedIn identifies your need for a job and starts suggesting that you buy their Premium feature. You contemplate for a bit, even discuss it with your spouse. You eventually decide it is a necessary investment towards your future. You do that. You’re now happy to know who’s visiting your profile or what you should be paid based on your role and where do you stand in terms of other applicants for the same job.
The Journey Begins
It’s been a few days or a week and you’re optimistically applying for Jobs that match your skillset and experience. If you’re lucky, a recruiter will respond asking for a preliminary call.
You’re excited and spend all the time you have preparing for that call. You read up everything about the company, the CEO, the work culture, your job duties. You prepare for all the answers that one can expect in a preliminary screening with the HR.
On the day of the call, you’re still nervous. You have multiple cups of coffee but that makes you all the more restless. You’re waiting for your phone to ring. 2 minutes pass and you’re now anxious. Suddenly your phone rings and it’s the HR. You’re asked to take them through your Resume. You hesitate. Because you realize that while you’ve spent all the time learning about them, they haven’t spent even a few minutes to go through your Resume.
But survival instincts kick in and you start taking them through your Resume. The rest of the interview goes smoothly. But in your head you're overthinking about the initial few seconds where you hesitated. If that call ends with them asking you for a time that week or next for them to schedule a call with the Hiring Manager, congratulations. You’ve moved one step closer.
If it ends with, “it was great talking to you, and we’ll let you know about next steps.” Be prepared to get into a loop of endless follow ups and anxiety for at least a week or 2.
Hint: It’s not happening. Move on.
If you’re lucky you’ll get an email from the HR who had initially reached out to you saying that they’ve gone ahead with other individuals who they thought were a better fit. This means that the HR is a decent human and is actually empathetic. Chances are that after weeks of follow ups, you'll get an automated reply saying the same thing.
Please keep in mind, that all this in no way is a result of your inadequacy and hence the use of the word luck repeatedly. Because that’s all that this. Luck.
One Step Forward Two Steps Back
You’re upset with this whole experience. But you swallow your feelings because the task is still incomplete. You make a note of all the things you’ve learnt from your previous experience.
In the meantime, you’ve also realized that applying blindly is a fool’s errand. You need to be smart about how and where to apply. You understand that referral’s is the way to move forward.
You now spend inordinate amounts of time to find that one 1st, 2nd or 3rd connection in a company you want to apply to. You reach out to them and some of them happily oblige. They refer you; you get a call, and you convert. Happy Ending.
A lot of you won’t hear anything for weeks or months even after the referral. Then one fine evening when you’re drowning your sorrows with alcohol, you get that automated rejection email. You drink some more to forget about it.
With your self-confidence at an all-time low, you start the next morning by looking for roles that you are overqualified for. Someone somewhere has told you that since you don’t have experience working in this new country, you might have to begin at a lower level and work yourself up the ladder. Something you’ve already done once. But what other choice do you have. You’re now desperate.
You start applying for roles a couple of levels below your experience. You’re ready to take the pay cut if someone, anyone hires you. You’re waiting for that one company who sees your true potential and understands what you’re capable of.
That’s not happening.
By now, you’ve learnt how to change your Resume for each application, include specific keywords. You’re receiving more and more calls for interviews. Things are looking up. You’re clearing a 2nd round here, a third round there. Things are looking optimistic. You’re mostly operating on auto-pilot. You’ve mastered the art of applying and receiving calls. It’s just that final leg, that final interview that’s still elusive. You’re more determined than ever to cross the finish line now.
The Silver Lining
And then it happens. You come across a perfect role. You know you’re the best fit. Even LinkedIn tells you you’re the top 1% among other applicants. You also realize you have a close friend already working in this company. You text them to give you a referral. They do something better than that. Not only do they refer, but they also have a word with the hiring manager who coincidentally goes to the same gym as your friend. Interviews are setup. All in a single day. You speak to the HR, a mere formality, and then have an informal chat with the hiring manager. It clicks.
You’re finally hired.
Of course, the pay is low. You’re starting at a couple of levels below your qualifications. But you’re happy that the wait is finally over. You call your spouse, and you decide to party. You’re on your second drink and by habit you open LinkedIn.
You quickly realize you don’t have to anymore. But by habit you still scroll through your feed. You see a post from an HR talking about dealing with empathy with job seekers. You recognize that HR. They’d ghosted you for a month. Your blood boils over the hypocrisy. But you let it go. You’ve been told not burn any bridges.
You vow to not become like one of them. You’ve become more empathetic to other job seekers.
You understand their pain and struggle. You tell yourself that you will help anyone and everyone who reaches out to you for help during their job search journey.
More importantly, you realize that you’re brave. The whole process had nothing to do with your capability. You gain some of your self-confidence and are once again ready to take on the world.